When 6-year-old Louie Leseberg fell down a well on the family’s farm, his dad jumped in after him. Now they were both trapped 70 feet below ground, but thanks to the quick thinking of 3-year-old Everett, they were rescued!
Watch the full rescue story below:
Louie, Everett, and Brandon’s Story
Done with his chores, Rock Port, Missouri, farmer and single dad Brandon Leseberg called across the pasture to his sons, Louie, 6, and Everett, 3. “Time to go!” But as they headed toward the truck, the boys stopped to take a drink from the water spigot at the head of the well. And as Louie leaned in, suddenly, one of the old boards on the wooden well cover gave way.
Hearing a splash and his son’s screams, Brandon didn’t think twice — he jumped in!
It was 70 feet down to the frigid well water. “Everything will be okay,” he assured Louie, who was flailing in the water. Clutching his son to his chest and telling him to hold on, Brandon braced himself between the brick sides, hoping to use the pipe that ran up the side of the well to climb out.
But it was too slick.
Everett is our only hope, Brandon realized.
“Everett! You need to go to the road and get help!” Brandon called up.
Everett, already terrified, was never supposed to go to the road alone. But his dad had told him to do it, and it was an emergency. So, he scampered the hundred yards to the back country road and stood waiting for a car to come along.
Christi and Mark McKenney were hauling a fertilizer spreader back to town when they spotted Everett.
“He shouldn’t be out here alone,” Mark said, pulling over.
“Daddy’s stuck in a hole,” Everett gushed, and led the couple to the well.
While Mark called 911, Christi called Dan Athen, who lives just a quarter-mile away.
Grabbing a rope, Dan and his teenage son, Ryan, raced there.
Mark also called Brandon’s field hand, Eric Duncan, who arrived, soon followed by Christi and Mark ’s son Jacob.
“We’re sending down a rope to pull you out!” Dan shouted into the well.
“I’ll send Louie up first!” Brandon called back. Dan sucked in a breath because they hadn’t known that Louie was down there, too.
Please, let it be long enough, Dan prayed and, knotting a loop into one end, he lowered the rope through the hole.
“Got it!” Brandon called.
Straining to stay braced against the well walls, Brandon used one hand to position the lasso around Louie. “Hold on as tight as you can,” he instructed his son, and Dan pulled him up.
When Louie reached the surface, Brandon murmured, “Thank you, God.”
“Your turn!” Mark called down to Brandon. But at 190 pounds, he was too heavy to lift with just the rope. Using fence railing and the arms of the windmill tower, they made a hoist. Still, it took the entire group to pull Brandon up.
Just then, rescuers arrived.
Brandon was okay. Louie suffered a cracked rib but was soon back playing with his brother in the pasture, safe from the now-concrete-capped well.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for their help, starting with Everett,” Brandon says.
“He saved our lives.”
“Everett is the real hero,” Dan agrees. “We’re just neighbors, and neighbors help anytime anyone needs anything.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.